307. Sophisticated Morons

Courtesy of the kind folks on YouTube, I just watched the soul-shattering fight on Game of Thrones between The Mountain and The Viper.

How does one go on with life after this?

During my second year at university, my philosophy lecturer, in the middle of the introductory class and while explaining why philosophy is named as such, took the opportunity to tell us the Greek roots of the word “Sophomore”, which more or less translates to “Wise Fools”, or “Sophisticated Morons”.

This is because, he explained, 20-year olds believe they know everything, or at least act like they do. Listen to me! Take my advice! Heed my instruction! We know what’s wrong with the world, and we know how to solve it! Come on, you adults, stop being so selfish and uncool and passive, we have to make a change!

When I heard that, my first reaction was to get all defensive about it. What do you mean, I’m a wise fool who thinks or acts like he knows everything? I’ll be the first to admit that there are many things that I have no clue about!

But then I consider the number of good advice I’ve discarded in the past; and as I grow older, I begin to realize how true this is.

The thing about young people (myself included) is that we’re all in a great big hurry. But not without good reason. The world is incredibly large, with, as Sir Elton John so eloquently puts it, more things to see than can ever be seen, and more to do than can ever be done.

(enter choir: “THE CIRCLE OF LIIFFEEEE!”)

When you think about the virtually boundless potential of the human spirit, the measly number of years that we have to live, and all the things that you could set your hands to do now that you have the freedom and resources to do them, it’s hard not to get excited. And a little impatient. We want the world, and we want it NOW! Creating a better world is great and all; but you know what would be better? Creating a better world that we can live to see and enjoy!

I still carry that impatience around. Some very wise people have told me that to qualify as a world-class player, I must have worked at my craft for at least 10,000 hours. Some simple calculations tells me that to gather 10,000 hours of experience, I will have to invest 3 hours a day, every day for the next 10 years. I’ll be 33 then – which isn’t a bad age at all to be a world-class writer.

But I want to write a novel NOW, dammit!

And I wonder why I keep on embarrassing myself by publishing half-baked works for the public’s consumption.

In an ideal world of my making, no one would be allowed to publish anything before they turn 25. There will be regulations and inhibitors in place to make it impossible, so that everyone can be spared of the horror of old shames coming to life. I mean, sometimes I think about the eBook that I have published, and I wonder why would anyone even let me publish that.

(it’s probably a good thing that it had remained under the radar all this while)

I’m impatient. But I don’t want to embarrass myself. I want to write a novel. But it won’t be as good as the novel that I can write at 33. I want to change the world. But my theories are fatally flawed and would crumble under their own weights.

What is a man to do?


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